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Monster Hunter Tri's soundtrack offers a huge quantity and variety of music, but it requires some cherry-picking to follow its musical journey.
When playing Monster Hunter Tri, the music wasn't really something that stood out for me. However, given the lengthy nature of some of the quests the soundtrack does well to provide an ambience that does not irritate on looping and didn't leave me searching the options for a mute button. Not high praise, perhaps.
Sitting down to listen to the soundtrack by itself, there's arguably a bit of a mismatch of sounds. Some of the tracks fall into a cinematic action-movie mould, whereas others mix in more ethnic- and world-music to evoke the game's fictional tribal setting. Some listeners may find the contrast of these elements provide a nice diversity and contrast to the album, but for my taste I prefer a more cohesive thematic development.
The world-music themes won't be to everybody's taste either. At times the soundtrack descended into pieces which sounded a bit like the pan-pipe backing which is played out in many health food and furniture stores.
For collectors and real fans of Monster Hunter Tri, this album is an essential purchase.
My other slight gripe with the album is the inclusion of every piece of in-game music. That's right, even the 20-second congratulations jingle which accompanies a successful game action is included between tracks. It's a nice addition for completionists but these minor audio stings are not really suited to a stand-alone listen and broke my enjoyment of the album.
Having said all that, this is a very generous soundtrack, with 52 tracks across two CDs. There are 12 tracks which are under a minute and add very little but there are still 40 pieces of decent music. I found that if I divided the better tracks by style, I actually ended up with two separate play-lists of highly enjoyable music (although I suspect that my "pan-pipe-monsters" play-list may receive limited future listening in my household).
For collectors and real fans of Monster Hunter Tri, this album is an essential purchase and really does seem to contain every shred of music from the game. For other listeners there isn't a great deal on offer here, but as it is a large soundtrack with a huge amount of variety there may be something for those interested in the interplay of world-music and dramatic soundtrack.
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